Beale R P: The testing of a model for the representation of consciousness.
Dissertation Abstracts International 41(9), 3565-B (2566-B) The Fielding Institute (Order = 8106799): 126, 1980.
Abstract: This dissertation tests the Bandler and Grinder model for the representation of consciousness. The problem examined is a psychological and phenomenological one which confronts the issue of whether there is a meaningful association of objective and subjective descriptions of experience. The Bandler and Grinder postulate claims that by observing eye movements and verbal predicates, psychotherapists and communicators can identify how a person is organizing his ongoing conscious experience. The experiment offers a video tape procedure exposing 40 college students to a test of 24 stimulus items. The items are based on the assumptions of Bandler and Grinder that people organize their experience in visual, kinesthetic and auditory categories and that they have a "most highly valued system" for organizing experience. The stimulus items were constructed so that six objects were held constant as the stimulus experience was varied. In addition, after an interviewer presented the items to the subjects, a standard probe question was asked. This yielded a total of N = 960 observations per stimulus. The experiment was videotaped in order to record the eye movements and predicate responses of the subjects. The design tested whether a significant number of observations corresponded to the predicate stimulus for the combination of eye movements and verbal predicates. Hypotheses were made for each variable, visual, kinesthetic, and auditory, as well as for the prediction of a "most highly valued system". Responses in categories predicted by the model to the stimulus modes served to substantiate or not substantiate the model. Hypotheses for the combined predictions of eye movements and verbal predicates were not substantiated. The findings show that the predominant eye movements were in an upward direction regardless of a shift in the stimulus. However, the predicate portion of the hypotheses was substantiated, confounding the results. A conclusion substantiating the model's postulate of a "most highly valued system" was not supported. The evidence presented suggests that the organization of ongoing conscious experience cannot be identified solely in terms of visual, kinesthetic, and auditory representations. A different interpretation of the significance of eye movements and predicates has been found to be that eye movement patterns and verbal predicates are separate and distinct expressive behaviors accessible to observation but not literally descriptive of internal processes. Inferences were made regarding implications for psychotherapy and communication, and for further research regarding the processes of subjective and objective organization of experience.